Middle East

New Palestinian government sworn in

From CNN staff

A new Palestinian government has been sworn in amid intense international pressure for the Palestinian Authority to reform.

The cabinet, led by Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa, was officially sworn in on Sunday before President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Mustafa had been appointed earlier this month to replace former Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, who resigned in February along with his government.

Following the ceremony, Abbas chaired a meeting of the new government, during which he said:

“Work is underway with Arab and international parties to stop the Israeli aggression on Gaza,” he said at the meeting, according to WAFA.

“Our political goal is to achieve freedom, independence and liberation from the occupation, and we are working with concerned Arab and international parties to obtain full membership in the United Nations,” Abbas said.

Abbas emphasized the need for “far-reaching institutional reforms to enhance performance and provide better services to the Palestinian people everywhere.”

He added that the new government will need to focus on humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza and the revitalization of the Palestinian economy, according to WAFA.

The PA faces intense pressure from the US to reform and improve its governance in the West Bank. It has long been seen as corrupt by US politicians and Palestinians themselves.

Some background: The PA held administrative control over Gaza until 2007. Hamas won the 2006 legislative elections in the occupied territories and thereafter expelled the Palestinian Authority from Gaza. Hamas has ruled the enclave since, while the PA governs parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

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